As Montreal Votes To Ban Pit Bulls, A Rescue Group Works To Get At-Risk Dogs To Safety

Photo credit: Jean Labourdette

UPDATE, September 27, 2016:

Despite the protests, and the science, and the hardship that is inflicted on Montreal’s people and dogs, the city council has voted in favor of a pit bull ban.

The vote of 27-22 took place on Tuesday afternoon. The law goes into effect on October 3.

Shortly after the vote, efforts got underway to get as many of Montreal’s blocky-headed dogs out of the city and to safety.

One of the groups that has stepped up to help with this effort is The Mr. Mo Project — which ordinarily finds loving “fospice” homes for elderly and sick shelter dogs, and is now expanding its mission to Montreal’s displaced and at-risk canines.

“These dogs have done nothing to be in this situation,” says Chris Hughes, who runs Mr. Mo with his wife Mariesa.

“We have a responsibility to these dogs,” adds Mariesa. “Once they are safe we can educate, but until then we fight for their rights.”

If you can foster or adopt a Montreal dog through The Mr. Mo Project, please fill out an application. We will update this piece with more information about how to help Montreal’s dogs, as we get it.

Photo credit: The Mr. Mo Project
Photo credit: The Mr. Mo Project

Original story:

The American Bar Association has also come out against proposals to ban pit bulls from two Canadian jurisdictions — Quebec province and Montreal, a city in Quebec that (unfortunately) looks to be moving forward with its own ban.

A letter from the ABA’s director of government affairs Thomas M. Susman — which you can read in full here — urges lawmakers to consider alternatives to breed-based regulations:

I am writing on behalf of the American Bar Association (ABA), a professional organization of nearly 400,000 lawyers, judges, academics, and law students, with members in both the United States and Canada, to express our concern over proposals by the provincial and municipal governments to regulate or ban ownership of certain dogs based solely on their breed or appearance.

It’s lawyerly language to talk about a deeply emotional issue that will force Canadian families to choose between their homes and their furry family members.

Photo credit: Flickr/Chris
Photo credit: Flickr/Chris

Susman lays out the reasons why groups like the ABA, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Humane Society of the United States oppose so-called breed-specific legislation, or BSL.

Among the reasons the letter notes are that BSL doesn’t make people safer, and is “expensive and difficult to enforce.”

Susman also points out that low-income families face especially harsh results:

Families are often left with the choice of having to move to a nondiscriminatory community or having their pet taken from them. This burden will often fall hardest on low-income families that cannot afford to challenge the designation of their dog as a banned breed or to move to a location where they may keep their family pet.

Luckily, there are safer, cheaper, more humane alternatives.

“Municipalities can safely and humanely regulate dogs in their community by focusing on the individual behavior of all dogs and the reckless behavior of dog owners,” the letter ends.

“This policy approach has proven to be the most effective solution to improving public safety, and we encourage you to consider such an approach as an alternative to the pending proposals.”

Photo credit: Flickr/maplegirlie
Photo credit: Flickr/maplegirlie

Animal advocates are hopeful that Quebec province will indeed avail itself of the better alternatives to BSL.

“But not as much for Montreal,” said the Montreal SPCA’s Marie-Noël Gingras-Perron, due to Mayor Denis Coderre’s relentless enthusiasm for the measure.

“He has made his decision,” she said. “A decision clearly not according to science and experts.”

The Montreal SPCA has vehemently opposed the proposed bans, which are expected to be going into law on September 26. The group has said it will cease providing dog control services to Montreal, should the ban pass — because BSL would require the group to euthanize healthy, friendly, otherwise-adoptable dogs.

Gingras-Perron asked for those who oppose Montreal’s proposed breed ban to reach out to Mayor Denis Coderre — his email address is — and sign this petition.

Another way to help: let the Montreal SPCA know if you, your shelter, or your rescue group can take in some of the pits who will no longer be welcome in the city.

“We will try to relocate our dogs, even in the US,” said Gingras-Perron. “If some rescues can contact us, that would be wonderful.”

Arin Greenwood

Arin Greenwood is an animal writer based in St. Petersburg, Florida. Previously, she was animal welfare editor at The Huffington Post. Arin is a former lawyer (J.D. from Columbia Law School, member of the New York Bar), life long animal lover, pit bull advocate, and devoted fan of cats and dogs who run for public office. Her first novel, Tropical Depression -- based on her five-odd, sometimes very odd, years living on a small island near Guam -- was published by teeny indie publisher Back Porch Books in 2011. Her second book, a comic young adult mystery called Save The Enemy, was published by Soho Teen in November 2013. Hello From Dog Island!, Arin's third book, will be published by Soho Teen in 2018. Know a shelter with a great, innovative program? Have another animal story to share? Get in touch at!


  1. Mongoose218 says:

    SUCH a ridiculous law…..pointless and cruel….as the letter from the lawyers’ association stated, it is the poorest people who face the brunt of the law as they can’t afford to move or get a lawyer to fight for them.

    PLEASE sign petition found in article, above.

  2. Cheryl Huerta says:

    What a very sad state of affairs. I really thought that we had provided enough education and factual data on this issue so that we’d be moving forward with comprehensive non-breed specific dangerous dog ordinances that hold owners responsible for the actions and behavior of their dogs. But apparently some people are unable to be educated about which end of the leash is truly responsible for the behavior of dogs and so decisions like this that will NOT reduce overall dog bites/attacks and will only serve to sentence hundreds of dogs to death unless their owners can figure out a way to accommodate the ban.

    As a pit bull advocate this is a real setback but it can’t be the end; we must not allow this to be the end. At some point people will be put into office that have the ability to distinguish propaganda, misinformation and myth from actual factual data.

  3. Vicki keery says:

    I can’t get on page to fill out applications

  4. Kay says:

    I had a pitbull that was accidentally hit by a because he saw my car pull off and he chase it and a person driving a van and he him and kept going. I miss my dog lucky. They are the sweetest dog you can have and if you take of them respect and care for them. Stop using your dog for dog fighting.

  5. Jude says:
  6. Team Pit-a-Full says:

    Although getting dogs out of Montreal/ to non-ban areas is good… challenging the laws and dragging the city into court is righteous.

    This law and its political (vs public safety) agenda have had some stank dripping off of it since first discussed two years ago. The real shame was there was no genuine counter-offensive going on since 2 years ago. Sure, the veterinary community made a few public comments as did the local SPCA in opposition to the (then) proposed law… but what about an “action plan”?

    As the old saying goes… “Its easier to avoid a new law than to have it removed once in place.”

    GOD HELP Montreal Dogs!!!

    Team Pit-a-Full Dog Training & Rehabilitation
    Denver, CO, USA

  7. Shaniqua says:


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